The rise of The Animal: Batista's 10 biggest moments

Batista’s build wasn’t a slow one. The moment the 300-plus pounder first emerged from the back like a gladiator entering a Roman coliseum, WWE fans knew he was a guy who would become an important player with immediacy. For Batista — as it has been for every Superstar with his rare combination of size and mobility — the hype came easily, but it’s the task of living up to the hype that has always been the challenge. 

Watch Batista's most epic matches | Check out photos from The Animal's career

Big Dave delivered, of course, becoming a WWE Champion, Royal Rumble Match winner and WrestleMania main eventer in less than a decade before suddenly quitting sports-entertainment in 2010. Now, as his Jan. 20 return date looms, looks back at the 10 integral moments that allowed Batista to evolve from man to The Animal.